When receiving medical care, it is a patient’s right to assume their doctor will treat them to the best of their ability. Medical professionals owe their patients a duty of care, which means that they should be held accountable for the harm they cause due to negligence. If you suffer an injury due to something a medical professional did or failed to do, you may have a medical negligence case.
Starting a medical negligence case can be a long and confusing process. Read on to learn the requirements of a medical negligence claim.
What is Medical Negligence?
Before you begin the process of claiming medical negligence, it is important to know exactly what this means. Medical negligence is considered treatment delivered by a health professional which falls below the acceptable standard of practice in the Australian medical community. This may be a mistaken act of care or failure to deliver appropriate care to a patient.
- Failure and delay in diagnosing a medical condition
- Prescribing incorrect dosage or medication
- Performing surgeries without the expected level of skill or care
- Failure to interpret test results correctly
Duty of Care
To prove you have been the victim of medical negligence, you must be able to confirm that a duty of care was owed to you and was breached. This means providing sufficient evidence to show that your medical professional was negligent in providing care and sound judgement in your situation.
Standard of Care
You will need to show that your medical practitioner did not deliver the standard of care set by their professional peers. When presenting your case, it is important to note that the courts will look at the expected standard of care and the opinions of other medical professionals in the same field.
You must be able to prove that the medical professional’s negligence had a harmful impact on your physical or psychological well-being. The harm caused must have been reasonably foreseeable and it must be established that other practitioners of the same expertise and experience would not have made this mistake.
Some medical procedures have unavoidable risks associated with them, and your medical practitioner may use this as a defence. In this case, it is important to state that you were not adequately made aware of the given risks and resulting implication they may have. If you were given an appropriate explanation of possible risks and chose to move forward with your treatment regardless, you will need to prove that your medical professional did not take enough reasonable care to avoid those risks.
Who to Contact
If you suspect that you have suffered medical negligence it is important to take action immediately with a medical negligence lawyer. Find a trusted and experienced medical negligence lawyer who can start building your case. You will most likely be advised to visit another medical practitioner who will assess your original medical issues and the resulting harm caused by your previous practitioner’s negligence.
If you have suffered severe physical harm due to medical negligence, you may have to wait until your injuries stabilise so that the courts can effectively assess the impact on your quality of life.
The expected compensation amount will vary based on your circumstances. The courts will take into account a number of factors, such as out-of-pocket expenses, loss of earnings (past and future), the level of pain and suffering endured, loss of quality of life and the cost of medical care and home modifications.
Medical negligence cases can be quite costly but most medical negligence lawyers will offer a “no win, no fee” guarantee if they believe your claim is worth fulfilling. This means that you will not have to pay the full amount of the legal costs you incur unless your medical negligence case is successful.
The time limits for taking legal action regarding medical negligence vary between each state and territory. Usually, you will need to commence legal proceedings within 3 years from the date the injury occurred. It is best to retain a medical negligence lawyer so that your case is filed within the appropriate time-frame and no deadlines are missed.
If you believe you have been the victim of medical negligence, you deserve to hold the person responsible accountable for their actions. An experienced and knowledgeable medical negligence lawyer will be able to build you a strong case and help you achieve a fair outcome.
Contact Schreuders for a trusted medical negligence lawyer who will make sure your case is successful.